Boston, MA – The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers have made the blockbuster deal of the summer.
In terms of money, it's one of the largest in the history of Major League Baseball, and it could be the biggest waiver-wire trade ever.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, right-hander Josh Beckett, infielder Nick Punto are now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who also got some cash in the deal. The Red Sox picked up first baseman James Loney and two prospects -- pitcher Allen Webster and infielder Ivan De Jesus -- along with two players to be named later.
"We continue to do everything in our power to strengthen our team for the stretch drive in an effort to reach the postseason," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti in a statement issued by his club. "This trade today exemplifies ownership's commitment to making the team as good as possible not only for 2012 but for many seasons to come."
Gonzalez, Beckett and Punto took a flight to Los Angeles prior to the official announcement of the trade. Gonzalez paid immediate dividends by hitting a three-run homer in his first at-bat as a member of the Dodgers Saturday night in an 8-2 win against the Miami Marlins.
"You couldn't write a better story than that," Gonzalez said.
Los Angeles, which is battling San Francisco for the NL West lead, had reportedly made waiver claims on Gonzalez and Beckett. The Red Sox are heading in the opposite direction, a team that had a monumental collapse last September and this year is languishing in fourth place in the AL East with one of the highest payrolls in baseball.
"We are absolutely committed to building the best team in 2013 and beyond, and we will do that in the most disciplined way possible," said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington at a Saturday press conference. "We have a core of players here, still, that will be a part of our next great team."
By acquiring the players mentioned, the Dodgers will commit themselves to at least $274 million in salary, starting with the 2013 season.
Their roster had undergone changes even prior to Saturday's trade. Earlier this summer, the Dodgers acquired outfielder Shane Victorino and infielder Hanley Ramirez.
Gonzalez is set to earn $133 million over the next six years of his contract, a deal struck by former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein that expires following the 2018 season. Crawford, another Epstein acquisition who is signed through 2017, is due $108.5 million over the next five years. Beckett still has $31.5 million remaining through the end of his deal in 2014 and Punto will make $1.5 million in 2013, the final season of a two-year package.
Beckett is just 5-11 this season with a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts. He is 0-4 over his last six appearances and hasn't won since July 15 at Tampa Bay. The 32- year-old veteran first had to waive his "10/5" rights (10 years in the majors, five with his current team) to be included in the deal.
"This was something I wanted. I wanted to make sure it was right for everybody else. It was tough leaving Boston," Beckett said. "I'm looking forward to a new chapter wearing blue."
The three-time All-Star and 2003 World Series MVP heads back to the National League. He was the second overall draft pick by the Marlins in 1999 and helped them to the World Series title in 2003, then joined the Red Sox in 2006 and helped Boston to the 2007 World Series championship.
Beckett was slated to start Saturday against the Kansas City Royals. He owns a 130-92 record with a 3.93 ERA in 300 games (297 starts).
Gonzalez would surely help the Dodgers' offense, as he headed into Saturday leading the majors this season with a .398 average with runners in scoring position. He topped the Red Sox with 11 game-winning RBI, and was hitting .300 overall with 15 homers and 86 RBI in 123 games prior to his arrival in Los Angeles.
"This is a great fit. I know everybody out here has our backs," Gonzalez said.
The 30-year-old Gonzalez, a four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, began his major league career with the Texas Rangers (2004-05). He then spent five seasons in San Diego before being traded to the Red Sox in December 2010.
Over his career, Gonzalez is a .294 hitter with 211 homers and 731 RBI.
Crawford had successful Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on Thursday. The 31-year-old played just 31 games this season, hitting .282 with three home runs and 19 RBI.
A second-round draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1999, Crawford played for the Rays until being signed by the Red Sox prior to the 2011 season. The four-time All-Star is a career .292 hitter with 118 homers and 667 RBI, along with 432 steals, which is third among active players in the majors.
The 34-year-old Punto broke into the majors in 2001 with the Philadelphia Phillies and has also spent time playing for the Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals. He joined the Red Sox as a free agent prior to this season and is hitting .200 with a homer and 10 RBI in 66 contests.
"This is home, southern California. I'm excited to be here and want to win a world championship with you guys. I am a world champion and would like to do it again," said Punto, who played for the 2001 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals last year.
Loney, a 28-year-old veteran of seven big league seasons, was a first-round pick of the Dodgers in 2002. He is hitting .254 with just four homers and 33 RBI in 114 games this season.
Considered nearly untouchable only a couple of years ago, Loney will be a free agent after the 2012 season. He is a career .284 hitter, but has never hit more than 15 homers or driven in more than 90 runs in a single season.
Webster, a 22-year-old right-hander, had been considered one of the top prospects in the Dodgers' system. He was 6-8 with a 3.55 ERA in 27 games, including 22 starts, for Double-A Chattanooga.
DeJesus hit .295 with three homers and 33 RBI at Triple-A Albuquerque.
The two players to be named later in the deal are believed to be pitcher Rubby De La Rosa and outfielder Jerry Sands.